Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rabbit Trails

We've been for Andrew's one-year checkup and what a doozy it was!  We got all the ordinary stuff out of the way up front: the little squirt weighs just 19 lbs, 8 ozs (6th percentile), but his height of 30 1/4 inches is still above the 50th percentile, so doc says we'll just watch the weight, but not worry about it yet.  After seeing Andrew wrestle his way out of my arms repeatedly, run laps around the exam room, strip himself of his diaper three times until we just gave up and let the naked nomad go, and pull the diaper bag out of the chair and emerge with his passy, she surmised that he just keeps little because he keeps busy.  I think she's right.  We talked about coordination, communication (I was very glad I had one spoken word to report!), and all that jazz.  We decided to keep him on the bottle for his main milk feeds (wake, before afternoon nap, and before bed) to make sure he gets in all the calories he can that way, and I'll just add a sippy cup of milk at mealtime.

{Warning: if blood makes you woozy, this might, too.}

Then came the bad part.  A TB test, a flu booster, and five vaccinations were followed by a trip upstairs to the lab for a blood draw.  This was no heel prick.  This was an all out, needle in the baby's vein, vials of blood, blood draw.  It was HORRIBLE!  At first, the nurse wanted me to have him in my lap and restrain his body with my body, while using both my hands to hold his little arm completely still.  If she had ever tried to change his diaper, she would have known that there was no way, no how that was going to work.  He would have gotten up and run out the door!  So we called in reinforcement.  A sweet nurse came in to hold his arm, while I held on for dear life to his little body.  Needle in, baby bucking and screaming, and they can't get the blood to come out.  So they're wiggling the needle all around in the vein.  I've had this done to me when getting an IV and it hurts something awful.  Wiggle wiggle.  Scream. Buck. Scream.  Me singing Itsy Bitsy Spider.  It was like a horror movie.  Then, they change out the vial, and--finally--the blood starts coming. 

Baby was still sobbing.  I was sweaty, and my hands were wet and dripping with Andrew's tears.  Morning sickness was in high gear.  But it was all over.

So...this whole ordeal sent me on a few rabbit trails of thought:

1. Last time we were at this lab, Andrew was four days old and still a little jaundiced.  My milk had not yet come in, so he was losing more weight than the doctor felt comfortable with and had no milk with which to flush out the jaundice.  We were in the lab to get heel prick blood tests to see if his jaundice levels indicated he needed to be readmitted to the hospital for phototherapy.  I was in bad, bad shape from a terrible delivery and we'd been away from home for hours by now.  I could barely walk, so I sat in the waiting room and Jacob took Andrew to the lab room.

And guess what?  They couldn't get the blood to come.  No milk had left him a little dehydrated and the heel pricks just weren't producing anything.  I start crying, as I hear Andrew screaming over and over again, as they do heel prick after heel prick (which, by the way, is not really a prick--it's a slice).  I don't know how Jacob handled it.  It was so bad that when Jacob took Andrew back the next day (yes, they had to go through it the next day, too), one of the nurses refused to try again.  And some man in the waiting room had the nerve to make fun of me for crying!
So, anyway, at some point, they decide to take a break in the torture to call our doctor and see what she advised.  Meanwhile, I'm having some sort of post-partum, pre-lactation, insane blood sugar dip and am about to fall out right there in the lab.  I make it back to the lab room and set Andrew up to try to nurse again, and Jacob goes to get me a sandwich from this deli downstairs.  He returns with the best turkey sandwich that has ever passed my lips.  I sit there, eyes closed, willing myself not to faint, scarfing down that sandwich, crumbs falling all over my chest, trying to nurse the baby, praying that my milk will come in so Andrew won't have to go into the hospital.  And you know what?  It did.  Right then.
2. In the last days of the summer before first grade, I broke my elbow pretty badly.  Once the cast came off, I needed physical therapy twice a week for a little while.  Mama would come check me out of school two mornings a week and we'd go off on our PT adventures.  Sometimes, the physical therapy was hard.  On those days, Mama would take me to get hashbrowns at some diner near the PT office after my appointment.  This was a huge treat, because we never ate out in my family.  So, I was getting to eat at a restaurant.  All alone with my Mama.  On a school day.  During school hours!  What in the world could have topped that?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.
3. When I was newly expecting Andrew, I went to my Aunt Buffy's house to tell her the good news.  She was newly expecting Bebe Kate and, on our way in, apologized for the kitchen smelling like egg salad, but said she was making a big batch.  Once I told her the news, she said, "Well, now you understand why I'm making the egg salad.  Something about all that protein really helps with the morning sickness."  Within the next week or so, my morning sickness fully set in, and I started ordering an egg salad sandwich from the cafeteria at work every single day.  And she was so right.
So, how did we follow all these rabbit trails? 
Well, we bolted from that lab and headed straight to that very same downstairs deli of lactation fame and shared an egg salad sandwich, just the two of us, Andrew in my lap, eating from my fingers.  A little post-appointment pick-me-up.  For both of us.

And we agreed: an egg salad sandwich has never been so right.


BettieBoyd said...

Oh, dear baby girl, now you are making me cry too. I remember the Waffle House after the arm therapy--that was so wonderful. What you didn't know then was that I needed it after watching you have therapy, just as you needed the deli after Andrew's bloodletting! Mamas are less resilient than babies, but I am so glad he made it through.

Julie said...

Oh my goodness - what an ordeal the two of you went through! Now we need to add egg salad sandwich to the list of comfort foods!
p.s. Andrew may be in the 6th percentile for weight but I think he's in the top 1% for strength and agility! I can vouch for that after changing his diaper!

Aunt Betty said...

Elizabeth, I used to call the Dr.s office a couple of days ahead of my visit with the kids and ask them what to expect. If shots were in order so was Tylenol before we left home. I also would know if I was going to need to bring them right home after for a little TLC and a surprise. Sometimes I realized the surprise had better come with me to the office to just help get through it. If you know you will have to go through something like that again maybe your sweet husband can take his lunch hour with you and help you get through it. Just some suggestions. Love you all.

MeeRan said...

Hi Elizabeth. I was cringing while reading your post! Caiden went through the same torture with the exact same shots and blood draw, but poor Andrew - why in the world couldn't they find his little vein?

Our boys are definitely in sync - Caiden also weighed 19.8 pounds at his one-year checkup and was 30 inches.

Hope Andrew is feeling better (and you too). See you soon.

J said...

Oh Elizabeth! What a hard doctor's visit! I can't believe y'all had to go through all of that! Makes my heart ache for both of you. My children have never had their blood work done like that. I am so sorry!

And the memories that brought up...I can imagine you eating that sandwich with Andrew trying to nurse and you pleading with God to bring in your milk...and oh His goodness in providing! Wow. Wow.

I never heard about eating an egg salad sandwich to ward off the nausea. What a great idea.

How is the nausea? I pray God gives you strength to not just make it through the day, but to enjoy each day!

Sarah Rose said...

I have to say, an egg salad sandwich has NEVER looked so good... but I definitely couldn't even look at an egg without gagging when I was newly pregnant!

I've never heard of little bitties having to have blood work done like that; sounds like you handled it like a champ, Mama!

You WILL survive this season, I promise!

Elissa said...

I'm sorry they had such a tough time drawing poor Andrew's blood, but what a beautiful post, Elizabeth! And I completely agree about egg salad for combatting pregnancy nausea.